Logo for Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023
The Special Olympics World Games 2023 were awarded to Berlin, Germany, on 13 November 2018. They will be held 16-25 June 2023. Over 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified Partners will compete in 24 summer sports.
Many renowned sports facilities in Berlin, Germany, will provide state-of-the-art competition venues, including the Event Center in the Messe Berlin (Convention Center), the Max-Schmeling-Halle sports facilities, the Sportforum, the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-SportPark, and the Brandenburg Gate. The Opening Ceremony will be held in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

Our Colorado Delegation


Amanda Leonard holding a Cheer 4 USA sign

Amanda Leonard, Swimming

I am from Aurora, Colorado, and I was introduced to Special Olympics in 1992, by first participating in soccer with Special Olympics Young Athletes at the age of 6. I currently compete in Alpine skiing, bowling and swimming. In the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, I will represent Special Olympics USA in swimming. I have competed in over 30 state-level competitions and in the 2010 Special Olympics USA Games, where I won gold in swimming. In 2014, I was named Special Olympics Colorado Female Athlete of the Year. I am an active member of the Special Olympics Colorado Young Professionals Board and volunteer regularly in the state office.

I love to ride my bike with my Dad and have participated in seven Multiple Sclerosis Society bike rides, helping to raise money and awareness for the organization. I am employed at the Hyatt Regency Denver as a hostess at Former Saint Craft Kitchen and Taps. Year-round, I train and work with a personal swim coach, building my strength, endurance, and technique in the water. I look forward to showing the world what I can do!

Gabriella Martin with arms in air

Gabriella Martin, Tennis

I am from Denver, Colorado, and I have participated in Special Olympics for 16 years, competing in bowling, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball. I will represent Special Olympics USA in tennis, competing alongside my sister Julianna, my Unified partner. Special Olympics has changed my life, teaching me to be more confident and independent. As an athlete, I am proud to cheer on my teammates and the athletes I compete against. Through Special Olympics Colorado, I am active in taking Athlete Leadership Programs courses.

I am employed at Polton Elementary School as a preschool paraprofessional. I most admire my parents, who dedicate their time in supporting me in my athletic endeavors, attending my practices and competitions. I am excited to compete with my sister and meet other athletes while attending the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.

Julianna Martin with hands on hips

Julianna Martin, Tennis, Unified Partner

I live in Denver, Colorado, and have competed as a Unified partner for nearly five years. Growing up, I attended my sister Gabriella’s Special Olympics competitions and practices. I will represent Special Olympics USA as a Unified partner competing in tennis alongside Gabriella. My sister is one of the kindest people I know, I have been so proud to be part of the Special Olympics community with her. I am a member of my school’s Special Olympics Unified Club, and I am active in fundraising and volunteering efforts.

As a senior in high school, I am an officer in my school’s chapter of National Honor Society and have earned athletic letters for track and field, and academic letters for my participation in mock trial. I work part-time at the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center as a front desk attendant. I am a highly competitive person, I have been preparing for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 by practicing my tennis skills at nearby outdoor courts, running, skiing and eating healthier. I look forward to the opportunity to compete with phenomenal athletes, including Special Olympics USA tennis athlete Loretta Claiborne, and learning their impactful stories.

Global Youth Summit Representatives

Nia Andricopoulos

Hi! My name is Nia Andricopoulos. A little bit about me. I am 19 and a sophomore at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. I am studying Biology with a concentration in Genetics and Pre-Health. I have been an advocate for people with disabilities for 9 years and a part of Special Olympics for 7 years! I founded and am currently President of the Special Olympics College Club here at Regis where we play Unified Sports (Basketball, flag football and soccer), make artwork, and experience college together. Additionally, I am the President of the Student Disability Alliance and the Disability, Equity and Inclusion Senator as a part of the student government. We can’t wait to be in Berlin, June, 2023.

Colton Rice

My name is Colton Rice and I’m 22 years old. I play flag football, basketball, and soccer through the Regis University UCS program. Also, I participate in powerlifting, LETR events, play eSports and soccer for the Unified Colorado Rapids. I really love working at Ace Hardware and will graduate from the Athlete Leadership University in May of 2023. My Unified Partner, Nia, and I are excited to be heading to Berlin, Germany!

LETR Torch Run Officer

Deputy Zach Poulsen, Weld County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Poulsen was nominated to run in the World Games Torch Run by the LETR Colorado Executive Council. The Final Leg tradition is for law enforcement officers, representing their country, state, and Torch Run Program, to act as Guardians of the Flame and carry the Special Olympics Torch and Flame of Hope to the
Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games. This Torch Run event is called the Final Leg because it represents the culmination of Torch Run events that have occurred previously throughout the world.

The Torch Run Final Leg is not only a salute to the athletes from around the world who will compete in the Special Olympics World Games, but also an honor for the participating law enforcement officers who comprise the Torch Run Final Leg Team. The Special Olympics Flame of Hope, in the entrusted care of the
law enforcement community, symbolizes the courage and celebration of diversity that the Special Olympics movement represents.

Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger

Hanna Atkinson

Friend, competitor, health advocate, communicator, hard worker, and leader…these are a few words to describe Hanna Joy AtkinsonHanna joined Special Olympics Colorado at the age of 13. Fourteen years later, her favorite sports are cycling and skiing, where she’s shown dedication and excellent sportsmanship.


Hanna is not only a stellar athlete, but she also represents the North American region as a Sargent Shriver International Global Messenger. Additionally, she serves as a Health Messenger and has represented Special Olympics Colorado at Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C. She is always looking for every opportunity to help spread her knowledge about health and living a healthy lifestyle. Hanna has made a significant impact with her show “Cooking Health with Hanna,” which helps encourage athletes to eat healthily, try new recipes, and try cooking in general.


Hanna was also a contributor for ABC Denver 7 News, earning a Heartland Broadcast Emmy for her piece “More Alike Than Different.”  Hanna’s busy life includes a service ambassador job at United Airlines and a fellowship with the Global Youth Team of SOI. She is an alumni reporter for Lady Gaga’s Channel Kindness, where three of her stories were published in the Channel Kindness book.

Countdown to Berlin

2023/06/16 09:01:00